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RIP Skinemax: Cinemax Looking to Ditch “After Dark” Softcore Porn

Malibu Bay Films

Cinemax After Dark – or Skinemax, as it’s more widely known – is a block of “adult programming” broadcast on Cinemax after midnight. Starting in 1984, the programming block became a staple of teenagers in the late-80s/early-90s, who grew up on sneaking downstairs while their parents were sleeping to catch some skin (not that we know from experience…).

Well, the good times are about to come to a close as Cinemax looks to rebrand, leaving Skinemax in the dust.

Variety reports that HBO, who owns Cinemax, is planning a new strategy for the cable channel, one that would leave the likes of ‘Co-Ed Confidential’ and ‘The Hills Have Thighs’ high and dry.

Despite making a name for itself with its bawdy content, Cinemax wants no more of that. Says HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo, “The hope is that I don’t hear ‘Skinemax’ any time after our original programming — what I’ll call the primetime originals — start to really take over.”

With the advent of the internet, no one really needs to wait until midnight to watch softcore porn on Cinemax and with VOD, less people are watching movies on cable. So HBO is repositioning Cinemax as a home to new original series like ‘Banshee’ and ‘Strike Back’ (both, it should be noted, offer their fair share of nudity). And in 2014, the channel is launching ‘The Knick’ from director Steven Soderbergh and star Clive Owen.

It’s seems like something of a no-brainer for Cinemax, who has struggled with re-branding over the years and have publicly bristled at the Skinemax nickname, yet, at the same time, it’s sad to say goodbye to a pop culture mainstay. And, we feel for the generation who will never have the, um, pleasure of sneaking a few minutes of ‘Emmanuelle in Space.’

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